It’s time to ditch our gendered conceptions of beauty products

beauty brands ed
Image by: Alison Andrade

For years, beauty brands have bombarded us with a strict binary: products “for men” and those “for women.” But as society shifts away from rigid gender norms, so should the products we use.

In the past few years, beauty brands have marketed more gender neutral products, a positive trend not only promoting inclusivity, but challenging the notion that some personal care products are feminine, while others are masculine.

Moisturizer, for example, is generally considered a feminine product, despite men having skin to take care of just like anyone else. The idea that using skincare products is emasculating shows how deeply entrenched in gender norms our society is, as well as the progress we still need to break free of them.

Marketing genderless products is a step in the right direction and creates inclusivity for all genders. It also sets a precedent for other companies. At the end of the day, beauty brands are businesses, so if they see a viable market for gender neutral products, they’re more likely to hop on board, creating a new norm for the beauty industry.

That said, men shouldn’t feel obligated to buy beauty or skincare products. This campaign isn’t meant to make people more conscious about their appearance, but to allow people—regardless of their gender—to purchase any product they want or need. This creates space in the market for men who’ve traditionally been excluded from the beauty industry, as well as nonbinary individuals.

Companies shifting to gender neutral products could also improve price disparities between male and female products.

Beauty brands and personal care companies tend to expect women to pay more for their products than men. Razors marketed for women often cost more, while those for men are cheaper. 

A razor is a razor, whether it’s pink or gray, and should be priced as such. Having gender neutral products would not only acknowledge this point but combat the disparity between female- and male-marketed products. 

It’s also important to remember the businesses pushing genderless products are simply acting on a demand in the market. Beauty brands are an important part of the genderless product trend, but they’re not the pioneers for it—that credit lies with young people. 

Gen Z youths, or anyone between the ages of five and 24, are generally more open minded and often advocate for less rigid gender structures. Spaces like  TikTok and the show Queer Eye are also collapsing gender norms, normalizing men in makeup and traditionally feminine clothes.

Dismantling strict gender norms begins with the everyday products we use. As companies shift to genderless products, people of all identities can be free to express themselves in whichever way they choose, without being weighed down by the strict masculine/feminine binary.

Gender neutral individuals have and will continue to exist. It’s time the beauty market reflected that.

—Journal Editorial Board

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